Vignette: Full-time Van Life

We wake up to the sound of thundering waves. The wind still howls at the windows. The long, stormy night has finally given way to our first day of full-time van life. 

It’s Monday, but we wouldn’t know it. As Richmond puts it, “All we have to do today is nothing.” 

We fire up the Jetboil and empty two packets of instant coffee into our respective mugs. Richmond breaks out the stove beneath the awning, the same awning that he had to put away last night because of ferocious winds. 

We cut up some leftover asparagus from our previous dinner and throw it in the cast-iron with some eggs, which cook slowly. The winds are still fighting back the fire and the rain is still coming down, slapping the tarp above us. 

We gobble down our breakfast as Buddy watches on. He sits attentively at my side, alert to any stray food that launches in his direction.

We spend the day in and around the van. We don’t get very far. Rain continues to threaten our plans. There are dark clouds looming in the distance. But the ocean below is so incredibly blue and enticing.  Every once in a while the sun bursts through and bleeds out onto he gray. We takeshort stroll down to the roaring ocean below, down a muddy trail that crossespretty lively creek. The rains have made it rage. 

At lunch we have a quick salad. Our favorite: arugula + olive oil + salt + cherry tomatoes + parmesan. Basic, but delicious. After finishing, it’s off to hike a nearby ridge that over looks the ocean. The trail is surrounded by beautiful wildflowers of every color. We pass a patch of poppies, which hold a place in my heart for California. Roscoe quickly turns them into a bed.

We spy a group of vultures taking advantage of the swift winds, probably 10 or more. An unusual few are sitting perched in the tall Eucalyptus trees along the highway, with their wings outstretched as if they’re sunning themselves. Richmond seems to think this is some kind of power move. Maybe it's vulture yoga. 

We return to camp and start up the stove again. This time, we throw on some chicken and broccoli. It’s quick and clean. We both make fast work of what’s on our plates. Roscoe once again sits patiently, waiting beside my feet, ignoring the dinner that Ive just poured into his bowl.

The sun starts to dip down behind the marine layer, casting epic rays across the turbulent water below. The the whole scene now appears fairly calm, but the crashing of waves suggests otherwise.

Darkness falls as we deal out cards inside the van. We’re just two vagrants now, and we’ve worked hard for it. After it gets a bit too tedious, we pour some hot cocoa and break out our Kindles for some reading. White Fang has me hooked, and also has me slipping Roscoe more food underneath the table. 

Weready ourselves for bed. I run to the bathroom, aided by my headlamp. It’s pitch black and I see rain drops darting in front of me. Above me, the stars are glittering. So where’s the rain coming from? All I can see are constellations.

I climb into bed with Richmond. We snuggle closely and gaze at each other. 

Goodnight, first full-time day of van life. Can't wait to see what the second day brings.